Irvin Kershner’s background is a mixture of music and art. The study of music (violin, viola, and composition) was the most important activity of his early years. He attended the Temple University – Tyler School of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Later, he went to New York and Provincetown to study with the famous painting teacher Hans Hofmann. He then moved to Los Angeles where he studied photography at the Art Center College of Design. Mr. Kershner’s accomplishments as painter, photographer and musician are all evident in his work as a film director.


He began his film career at the USC – School of Cinema teaching photography and taking cinema courses under Slavko Vorkapich, the great montage artist and then dean of the School of Cinema. Kersh next accepted a job as still photographer on a State Department film project in Iran under the Four Point Program, which ultimately led to an assignment as a director and cinematographer of documentaries in Iran, Greece and Turkey with the United States Information Service.


When he returned to the States, he and the late Paul Coates developed CONFIDENTIAL FILE, a documentary television series. Kersh worked as writer, director, cinematographer and editor. He later developed and directed the television series THE REBEL, as well as the pilots for PEYTON PLACE, CAIN’S ONE HUNDRED, PHILIP MARLOWE, etc.


Some of his best known films are THE HOODLUM PRIEST which starred Don Murray, THE LUCK OF GINGER COFFEY with Robert Shaw and Mare Ure (this film in recent years has attained cult status), A FINE MADNESS, showcasing the talents of Sean Connery, Joanne Woodward and Jean Seberg, THE FLIM FLAM MAN starring George C. Scott, UP THE SANDBOX with Barbra Streisand, RETURN OF A MAN CALLED HORSE starring Richard Harris, the critically acclaimed TV movie RAID ON ENTEBBE which was nominated for 9 Emmys, including Best Direction, THE EYES OF LAURA MARS starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, second film in the STAR WARS trilogy and one of the top 10 highest grossing films of all time, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, Sean Connery’s return to the role of James Bond, the HBO film TRAVELING MAN starring John Lithgow and Jonathan Silverman, for which Kersh was nominated for an ACE Award, and of course, ROBOCOP 2.


In recent years, Kersh continued to produce and write, while teaching screenwriting at the University of Southern California and lecturing in many countries. He also created an extraordinary collection of fine art photographs for exhibition in New York, San Francisco, and Mexico. Some of his work now exists as a permanent photography exhibition at the newly opened Los Angeles County General Hospital.


At the time he died, Kersh was working on a Broadway musical entitled ‘Djinn’ and a documentary about his friend Ray Bradbury. At his request, there will be no funeral. Instead of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to: The Settlement Music School, P.O. Box 63966, Philadelphia, PA or The San Juan Preservation Trust, P.O. Box 327, Lopez, WA 98261.


View his photography on his website at: http://www.IrvinKershner.net.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: